Indigenous woman upset over alleged racist comments at Windsor hospital
WINDSOR -- An indigenous Windsor woman is calling on Windsor Regional Hospital to take action after she claims racist comments were made by a staff member.
Anne Marie Garrick and her husband Todd Garrick want to see a technician responsible disciplined after an alleged incident at the hospital on Sept. 13.
Anne Marie Garrick has been in and out of the hospital since July after an emergency C-section that eventually led to doctors diagnosing her with cirrhosis of the liver.
As she was being prepped for one of her procedures, she says she was shocked to hear comments make about her indigenous background.
“There is zero tolerance for any type of racism and hate within our facility. If you do it you're gone," says Todd Garrick.
That's the approach Todd Garrick says he expects from Windsor Regional Hospital after he alleges his wife Anne Marie was discriminated against minutes before going into surgery in September.
"She said ‘you know what the problem is with you people, you drink too much,’” said Anne Marie, who identifies herself as Inuk. “I lived in northern Ontario. I know your culture man be beautiful but too bad it's ruined by all the drinking. I was so dumbfounded by that blatant prejudice just right in my face."
Anne Marie Garrick says she is not a drinker. She says in that moment she was shocked.
"I trusted everyone there and at that moment my trust was gone,” she says. “I was terrified. I was thinking how can a person with that kind of mentality be responsible for such an important thing that's happening to me right now."
Looking back, she wishes she would have used that moment to educate.
"I would have put more conviction in the fact that there are more people that don't abuse substances then there are."
Immediately after her procedure, she called her husband, who was put into contact with the hospital's patient advocate.
The Garricks requested an in-person meeting with the ultrasound technician to address their concerns.
"She needs to see me in person and I need to see her in person with my clear healthy eyes so I can tell her I forgive you for what you've don’t for me and I hope you can get that out of your heart."
In a statement sent to CTV News, communication co-ordinator of Windsor Regional Hospital, Steve Erwin, writes: “We are continuing to work with the patient and family to provide them support and they have been agreeable to pursuing options with Windsor Regional Hospital towards a resolution of their concerns. Notwithstanding those discussions, we wish to make it clear that remarks made towards patients and/or visitors in a discriminatory manner are never acceptable and we always take these matters very seriously. We always encourage patients to let us know of issues they may have so that their concerns can be addressed thoroughly.”
In June, the hospital did announced a new 'indigenous practice protocol' they hope would make indigenous people feel more comfortable and thus more likely to go to the hospital.
Rooms have been designated at both the Met and Ouellette campuses, where 'smudging ceremonies' can be performed.
Smudging is the holistic act of using a cleansing smoke bath to purify both body and soul.
But the Garricks feel their experience needs to be used as an example to prevent future incidents.
The Garricks tell CTV News it was just last night that their request to meet face to face with that ultra-sound technition has been approved.
All parties are expected to meet next Friday in what is called "a restorative sharing circle" to discuss what happened that day.
Hospital officials are again encouraging patients to inform them of concerns so they can be addressed throuroughly.